Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Witch Hunts

     It is estimated that 80,000 people have been persecuted and executed as witches, following legally sanctioned and religiously motivated witchcraft trials.
     Witch executions are not over.  Saudi Arabia, Cameroon, India, New Guinea, and some African nations still have official legislation against witchcraft, punishable by death.  On December 12, 2011, Abdulhalim Nassar was beheaded in Saudi Arabia for practicing witchcraft, and on June 19, 2012, so was Muree bin Alibin Issa al-Asisri.
     When a government or religious group forbids witchcraft trials, these irrational executions stop.  The Christian theologian, St. Augustine spoke for the Catholic church in 420 AD when he said that witches didn't have supernatural powers--only God could be the source of inexplicable cures, natural disasters, and so-called magic.  He influenced the medieval church against tracking down and killing witches.  Charlemagne's Council of Frankfurt in 794 condemned witch burning, ordering the death penalty for people who killed witches.  Thereafter, the number of trials and killings of witches declined.  Similarly,  England's Witchcraft Act of 1735 pronounced that witchcraft would no longer be an act punishable by law--after that, the persecution of witches all but ended in England.
     It was the Protestant Reformation that gave a big boost to witch hunts.  People who were thought to have special abilities, including being able to heal others, were accused of having pacts with the devil.  During the Salem witch trials of 1692 and 1693, the logic was that magic was wrong not because it failed, but because it worked so effectively--therefore, it must be the domain of the devil.
     Witch hunts and executions are arbitrary, devoid of justice, irrational, and insane.  Witch trials follow a procedure that in no way can be called due process.
     In fact, with trials resemble Grand Jury trials of today.
     Grand Juries are convened in secret and conducted by government prosecutors.  They impugn defendants who are absent (and who may not even know a case is being mounted against them), and propagandize unschooled jurists to issue indictments against individuals who have never been given an opportunity to hear the charges or organize a defense.
     Witch hunts ended with the Enlightenment, starting in the 1680's.  The advent of scientific thinking, with its backdrop of reason, skepticism and humanitarianism, brought to an end the craziness, torture and forced confessions of the Reformation.
     At least, that's what the history books say.
     But it seems to me that a version of the witch hunts of the 1600's is alive and well today, masquerading as indictments against, for instance, doctors for "fraud."
     My lawyers tell me that it is most certainly the case that several Grand Juries have been convened in secret to "prove" my guilt.  Witchcraft trials were also held in secret.
     The witnesses in my case are none other than government agents, and people these agents have indoctrinated with their point of view and enticed with the chance of bonuses.  They have a vested interest in proving my guilt even if it means the destruction of my professional life.
     What do government officials have to gain?  For one thing, if they can usurp my assets they will be complying with the president's orders to take back Medicare fraud money.  For another, a third of the seized assets could become FBI property:  the FBI counts on such bestowals to fund its own oversized budget.  Last, the government loves to boast about its success in recuperating "stolen" money for its taxpayers, fueling a growing supposition that doctors are corrupt.
     Witchcraft trials were one-sided, too.  Many witches were forced, using torture, to "admit" guilt. Witnesses needed only the scantiest "evidence."
     My lawyers have advised me that plea-bargaining may be the cheapest way to end the government's investigation of my clinic.  This would, in effect, be tantamount to admitting guilt.  I'd be paying the government off without ever having information pertaining to the allegations about me, or the grounds for the raid and forfeitures that occurred last year.  It would cost too much, the lawyers say, for me to seek an acquittal--a payoff would be cheaper.  Never mind the exercise of reason or fairness.  Theirs is pre-Englightenment thinking.  This sort of thing happens all the time.
     Public officials, including Obama, waste no opportunity to say how much they're doing for the American people by "cracking down on fraud and abuse" in the Medicare and Medicaid systems.  Who would guess that many of the crackdowns are themselves fraudulent, an example of abuse of our legal system?  How many of us know that assets kept in plea-bargaining are really what represent the booty obtained in going after fraud, using this special form of government extortion?
     We are a barbaric race.  It doesn't matter that the barbarism is hidden behind a screen of government do-gooding.  Grand Jury trials are just an updated version of witchcraft trials.  They have to be held in secret, because otherwise they would be exposed as baseless.  The prosecutors must be able to petition jurists without defendants and lawyers present in the courtroom to shout, "You're wrong!  You're lying!"  because, otherwise, they wouldn't be able to issue indictments in 97% of the cases.
     I wonder if Grand Jury trials might be held during the full moon, in the woods, by cultish men in dark cloaks who use hysterical accusers to prove their cases?  I wonder if they consider the shadows cast by overhead trees to be messages from god that they are doing good work, and if the devil himself, screeching from the mouths of bats and owls, calls out:  "Kill the vermin!  Kill her!  Kill her!" 

6 comments:

  1. You may be interested in the original algorithm for with hunts:

    http://laphamsquarterly.org/visual/charts-graphs/?page=161

    As you might expect - none of the outcomes are good.

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    Replies
    1. Wow! What a joke! And this was the basis for trying witches, condemning them, and rousting out the devil?

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  2. Plea-bargaining only benefits the guilty where there is strong evidence of guilt! Pre-Enlightenment thinking must be akin to Stinking thinking.

    The prosecutor subpoenaed the ‘Victim’ in my case to appear for an interview session 20 days after my arrest. Two hours after the prosecutor interviewed the ‘Victim’ my attorney got a call from the prosecutor. Note that my alleged ‘crime’ carries a mandatory minimum five-year sentence. The prosecutor offered that I plead guilty to a lesser charge of (I don’t remember what) and receive two years probation.

    The lesser charge was just another totally made up charge. Our whole justice system is crap. How can a prosecutor go from what the judge said was a ‘very serious crime’ that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five-years in a state prison upon conviction to a lesser (misdemeanor) charge?

    The victim’s mental illness (a breach with reality) must have rubbed off on the prosecutor during the interview.

    When I demanded to go to trial on the original charges I ended up wearing an ankle bracelet for six months ($76/week fee), remained under house arrest, and I couldn’t go to my sister’s funeral as punishment for not playing ball, so to speak.

    This is our justice system?

    To my prosecutor I say what should be sobering thought, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7-8).

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  3. Your experience sounds terrible, and makes a travesty of our justice system. The system itself is flawed--which means that even when good people try to do the right thing, they are guided by the system to do the wrong thing, the unjust thing. So when the "victim" was interviewed, he/she was guided to say things that would incriminate you. The prosecutors in cases like this aren't asking, "Is this person likely to be guilty, or not?" but, "How can I turn this into a guilty person and make myself looke good?"--especially after the case is underway. Backing out, apologizing, or saying, "Sorry! Made a Mistake!" just don't seem to be respectable options for prosecutors, or for anyone in the justice department.

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  4. No, the accused is not likely to hear, “Sorry! Made a Mistake!” at all. It’s much more likely that the accused will be an object of scorn.

    If faced with no sustainable evidence against an accused, I believe that a prosecutor is thinking only of himself at times like that.

    I’m sure that the prosecutor called the ‘victim’ in for an interview in order to determine the strength of his only witness. I cannot imagine what the prosecutor thought when he saw evidence of tardive dyskinesia caused by the ‘Victim’s’ use of the anti-psychotic medicines Pamelor and Navane. His symptoms are profound…hard to miss.

    He was not motivated to file ‘Information’ but he waited almost another five months before he filed ‘No Information’.

    You cannot convince me that prosecutors think anything but, “this person is guilty, it is just that the evidence is insufficient.”

    I believe that if someone were arrested for murder but the evidence would not sustain conviction, a prosecutor would gladly settle for a plea deal, a guilty adjudication, for say, ‘spitting on a sidewalk’ (it doesn’t matter). A prosecutor is thinking that your case would be reopened at some point due to a violation of probation, at which time, the plea deal would be automatically revoked. Then, what is outstanding is the guilty adjudication on the original charge of murder. That guilty adjudication is used to send you to prison without trial and a lesser charge/penalty is not offered. The convict will then automatically get the maximum sentence. From my research, cases that are pled out are very often reopened. This is what is done all the time.

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